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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  February 2, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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of wood. you know when he started doing this? at the age of 5. >> couric: boiling point: liberation square turns ugly. the day after egyptian president hosni mubarak announces he will not seek reelection, his supporters hit the streets and confront the opposition. an explosive combination. and now, journalists are coming under attack. >> as soon as we got to the checkpoint they were on us, pushing shoving. they punched my photographer. they maced my photographer. it was blood in the water. >> couric: the most violent day in egypt since the uprising began. and back in the states, that monster ice and snow storm. dangerous roads, a near record number of planes grounded, and hundreds of thousands without power. captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric reporting live from cairo. >> couric: good evening, everyone. it may be after midnight, but as you can see behind me, hundreds of diehard protesters are still milling around liberation square. it's been a bloody day here in cairo. according to the egyptian health ministry, as of now, at least three people have been killed, more than 600 injured in today's violence. all of egypt is holding its breath wondering what will happen next. it rapidly became clear president mubarak's words had only inflamed the street. his supporters flooded the square. some rode in on horses and camels brandishing weapons and hurling rocks. ibrahim kamel, general secretariat of mubarak's
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administration, praised the new wave the protesters and dismissed the demonstrators demanding change. >> i'm sorry to say, that these few people that are standing in the square are not egypt or the egyptians. >> couric: who are they? >> they are part of a minority that is intent on dealing with egypt and the regime, a blow that i hope will never happen. >> couric: as we spoke... >> thanks. ( gunfire ) >> couric: ...gunshots rang out from the square below. giving what we're seeing behind us at this moment, do you truly believe there can be a peaceful transition of power while president mubarak is still in office? >> 100%. there will be a peaceful transition of power and i am sure that what you're witnessing today will be something of the past, hopefully sooner than many
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people think. >> couric: but by nightfall it had only escalated. molotov cocktails replaced the sticks and stones of the afternoon clashes. a message on twitter spoke volumes. "oh, my god, oh, my god. we in tahrir square. they are killing us. the thugs have killed us." >> it's been absolutely appalling what is happening down there. >> couric: no stranger to conflict, marie colvin of the "sunday times" lost her eye covering the srilanken civil war. he was in the thick of things as pro mubarak forces converged. >> they came with pieces of machinery. they came rocks and knives and they came to clear tahrir square of the supporters.
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they're now chopping up the pavement to throw rocks back. it's mayhem down there. >> couric: did the mubarak government orchestrate this? >> this has been organized on some level by the mubarak government. we don't know what level. but the people we are seeing attacking tahrir square right now are mubarak supporters. quite a few are government employees. it simply does not happen in egypt without official sanction. >> couric: meanwhile it was unclear what role, if any, the egyptian military was playing. >> they're sitting in their tanks. they're intervening on neither side. the protesters felt the military there was to protect them. they're not doing anything tonight. >> couric: today, the white house strongly denounced the fighting. >> if any of the violence is instigated by the government, it should stop immediately. >> couric: shockwaves of unrest continued to ripple throughout the middle east today as the president of yemen announced he would not seek reelection after his term expires in 2013. here in egypt, part of the government's call for a return
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to normalcy included restoring internet access. but there is no sign the protesters will back down until mubarak leaves office. they declared friday the day of departure, the day they want him gone. mubarak has offered no evidence he will agree to that demand. how do you see this shaking out? i mean, this seems like the beginning of a civil war. >> it's going to get worse. everyone is saying, and i believe it will happen, friday will be a really decisive day and very violent day. >> couric: richard haas is president of the council on foreign relations. richard, a member of parliament went on al jazeera today and admitted business associates close to the regime did in fact pay some of these pro-mubarak protesters to hit the streets. does that surprise you? >> no. the purpose of this may have been to intimidate the people in the streets, may have been to
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create a real sense of crisis to force the army's hand. throughout much of mr. mubarak's 30 years of rule, he tried to portray himself as the person who stood between egypt and chaos or between egypt and an islamic alternative. so the sort of violence we've seen today, while some of it may have been spontaneous, the idea that some of it may have been orchestrated by the president and his supporters should not come as any surprise. >> couric: can hosni mubarak survive until the september elections or will something have to give, given this violence today? >> i don't believe he can survive until the elections. i think the situation would continue to get worse, and i think the army will not let it get that far, and the army will step in. hosni mubarak also has to be careful here. the potential for mob rule, the potential for things to deteriorate so the crowds turn on him personally is considerable. i actually feel that people are playing with fire. egypt today started to move exactly in the direction none of
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us wanted to see. >> couric: when do you think the army will step up? >> a few more days like today where the situation begins to spiral out of control, and the army essentially either continues to look feckless and weak in the face of the crowd or is forced to use violent means against the demonstrators. i don't believe that's an acceptable choice for this army. so i think sooner rather than later this phase of things needs to come to an end, and i truly hope that the u.s. government is privately communicating this message to the leadership of the army and to the vice president. >> couric: richard haas. richard, thank you so much. as we reported, when violence erupted today, the military did not try to stop it. as elizabeth palmer reports, so far the military has not taken sides, but the question is: will they? >> reporter: after brutal riot police melted away last friday and the army rolled in, they were embraced as protectors come to restore public order.
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in fact, that's been their main role for almost 40 years. it was the military that handed out bread to calm food riots in 2008. >> it's very good. >> reporter: with 468,000 soldiers on active duty, egypt's military is the largest in the arab world. it gets about a third of its money, $1.3 billion in 2010-- from the united states. but it hasn't actually been in combat since 1973 in the war against israel. back then, the dashing air force commander, hosni mubarak, was hailed as a hero and in 1981, he became president. the military then amassed huge power and wealth. in a leaked cable, u.s. ambassador margaret scobey described the military as a quasi-commercial enterprise itself, which owns vast tracks of prime real estate and has major interests in, among other things, hotels, construction, and weapons manufacturing.
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it's estimated to control at least a third of egypt's $200 billion economy. it controls much of the state, too. all three top cabinet officials appointed by president mubarak a few days ago are senior military commanders. so far, the soldiers have stayed neutral in this crisis. all day today, their top commanders were receiving calls from the pentagon, urging restraint, but they still hold the balance of power, and the question is if mubarak orders them to put down this uprising, will they obey? elizabeth palmer, cbs news, cairo. >> couric: secretary of state hillary clinton told egypt's new vice president that the transition needs to begin now. he's offered to hold talks with opposition leaders, but today, many of those leaders said they will not come to the table until mubarak is gone. the backdrop of violence in cairo today only underscores the
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long road ahead for egypt. >> but he doesn't seem to get it >> couric: mohammed el-baradei, former head of the international atomic energy agency, and one of the lead negotiators for the opposition, says working with mubarak is non-negotiable. >> i will never get into a dialogue while mubarak is in power because all what you do is you, you know, give that regime a legitimacy, which in my view they have lost. but more importantly, i don't think he understands what democracy means. i don't think he understands that he really needs to let go. >> couric: el-baradei says there would be no power vacuum if mubarak were to leave immediately and believes stoking fears about what a new egypt might look like is a ploy by the current government. >> the hype that once egypt becomes a democracy it will become hostile to the u.s. and hostile to israel. these are the two hypes or fictions.
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>> couric: but ibrahim kamel, a close confidant of mubarak's, says he is concerned about an extremist power grab and insists the majority of egyptians support the president and want to give him time. >> 90% of egyptians will tell you that president mubarak represents for egypt something very valuable. they stand behind him. they believe that by the end of his term, the changes that will take place in our political system will make egypt a much better place for the future. >> couric: whatever lies ahead for egypt, amr mussa, the head of the arab league, which represents 22 arab nations, says there is no turning back for egypt or the rest of the arab world. >> the message has been sent. the message has been received. it will never be the same again. i firmly believe that the arab
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world in one year time will not be the same as we see it today. >> couric: i'll be back with more from cairo later in the broadcast. but first, harry smith in new york has the rest of the day's news. harry. >> smith: all right, katie. and that includes a lot of ice and snow. coming up next, we'll bring you the latest on the major winter storm that is affecting much of the country.
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>> smith: the big story here in
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the united states tonight is the monster storm. hitting a third of the nation with snow, sleet, and freezing rain. more than a foot of snow has fallen in places from oklahoma to ohio to upstate new york. at least 15 people have died, most of them on icy roads. power was knocked out to more than half a million homes and businesses, and air travel has been paralyzed with more than 14,000 flights canceled. chicago's airports are virtually shut down tonight. with about two feet of snow it's one of the worst storms in the city's history. national correspondent dean reynolds is there. dean, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, harry. well the word tonight is while the snow has subsided arctic temperatures are arriving like a dropped block of ice, essentially freezing this blizzard into place. this was chicago's lake shore drive overnight. commuters buried up to their windshields in a monster traffic
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jam triggered by a jackknifed city bus. >> we were trapped on lake shore drive for, like, seven hours. upon fitting symbol of the blinding groundhog day blast. nearly two feet of fresh sp drifting snow. >> there's no road. >> reporter: along with side orders of thunder and lightning. the unfortunate were led away on foot and, appropriately, on snowmobiles. their cars, they left them behind. this afternoon, they're still here. still marooned, and one of the city's busiest roadways is still closed. but in a 2,000-mile storm that touched 30 states, chicago's misfortune was hardly unique. parts of 25 interstates were shut down. accidents were innumerable, and this one in new hampshire was certainly memorable.
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in oklahoma cbs news correspondent don teague reported road ice two inches thick. >> two trucks off the road in front of me. it's just chaos. >> reporter: snow collapsed a building in massachusetts and a hardware store in minnesota. >> i run back into the back room and said, "hit the floor! the building's coming down!" >> reporter: people were scraping in new jersey, chiseling in indiana, and slipping in new york. >> are you all right? >> reporter: in indianapolis, a man was saved inches from the white river after sliding down a frozen embankment. and in austin, texas, the weather forced rolling power blackouts and at one intersection, it had predictable results. they lifted the blizzard warning in chicago this afternoon and immediately replaced it with a wind chill warning, and for good reason because the wind chills in chicago tonight are supposed to be between 20 and 30 degrees below zero. harry. >> smith: wow, dean, that picture of you on lake shore drive is just unbelievable. have they made any progress in
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clearing those cars? >> reporter: the lake shore drive is still closed tonight. we don't know when it's going to reopen. there are still hundreds of cars still stuck in the snow, and many of them are probably as cold as i am. harry. >> smith: dean reynolds, thank you very much. have a good night. a powerful cyclone is tearing across australia this evening. it came ashore as a category five storm with 180-mile-per- hour winds. but the biggest fear: heavy rain in queensland, a region still recovering from months of historic flooding. the cyclone is losing strength tonight and is down to a category two. no injuries have been reported thus far. and it is raining money again on wall street. according to today's "wall street journal" total compensation and benefits at publicly traded banks and securities firms hit a record $135 billion last year. that's an increase of more than
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5% from 2009 and a new record. coming up next, an update on congresswoman gabrielle giffords. ,,,,
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>> smith: it's been nearly four weeks since arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords was shot in tucson. in a new twitter message her husband, astronaut mark kelly,
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said she's making lots of progress in rehab in houston. kelly's twin brother, space station commander scott, says mark will decide soon whether to make his space shuttle flight in april. for years, nasa scientists have been scouring the heavens for planets that might support life. today, the space agency announced the discovery of a new solar system in our galaxy. six planets in orbit around a star a mere 2,000 lightyears away, but also spotted by the new kepler space telescope at least 54 planets, which exist in what's calls the goldilocks zone-- not too cold, not too hot, just right, theoretically, to support life. now to another heavenly body this one discovered back in the 1970s. 12 million of these posters of farrah fawcett were sold back then. today the bathing suit she was wearing in that picture was enshrined in the smithsonian institution. fawcett, who died in 2009, would have turned 64 today. i'm harry smith in new york. katie will have more from cairo right after this. this. vz├▒ ,,
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fate of the historic claremont hotel. next on cbs 5 >> couric: back now from cairo. antigovernment protesters first took to the streets on tuesday
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of last week, inspired by the overthrow of tunisia's dictator but the roots of this egyptian uprising trace back further to that, to last june, when a young man was murdered in alexandria. chief foreign affairs correspondent lara logan picks up the story from there. >> reporter: this is 28-year-old khaled said. and this is what can happen to you in egypt if you try to expose corrupt policemen. he was beaten to death last june by two policemen on a public street, retaliation, his friends believe, for this video khaled posted on the internet. it shows policemen allegedly sharing the spoils of a drug bust. >> we can face or might face the same destiny at any point of time. >> reporter: this man agreed to talk to us if his identity was hidden. he's one of the key organizers of the protests that have rocked egypt. was khaled's death a catalyst for this people's revolution?
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>> reporter: the disturbing image of khaled's broken face was posted on facebook. they took that message from internet chat rooms to the streets of cairo just days after his death. and then to khaled home town of alexandria. his story spread, and khaled said, a middle-class businessman became an explosive symbol of police brutality under hosni mubarak's rule. the abuse you see in these internet videos is just a glimpse of what egyptians say they've lived with for decades. >> reporter: no one knows their names? >> reporter: khaled said's story and the revolution it inspired
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is now a permanent part of egyptian history. lara logan, cbs news, alexandria, egypt. >> couric: recapping another tumultuous day here in cairo, supporters of president mubarak clashed with antigovernment protesters today. stones, bottles, and firebombs rained down on liberation square. gunfire rang out. as of now, at least three are dead and more than 600 injured. the obama administration stepped up the pressure on mubarak to begin the transition of power. spokesman robert gibbs said, "now means now." egypt's army ordered protesters to clear the streets, and the crowds here have thinned but the protests apparently will continue. that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. reporting from cairo. thank you for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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access.wgbh.org free parking for bus drivers? i'm phil matier in san francisco where the city says no more to that perk. confusion over clipper cards on cal trains. just ahead the $400 mistake you don't want to make. take a look at this beautiful landmark behind me. the clairemont hotel surviving even the oakland hills fire. but now a new problem. bankruptcy. the story coming up. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. $80 a month to park. it would be a steal for a lot of people who work in san francisco. but muni drivers are furious that the city is ordering them to pay anything at all. phil matier shows us why muni employees say charging

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